Steelers select Florida RB in fifth round of NFL Draft
April 28, 2012 8:15 PM
Phil Sandlin/Associated Press
Florida's Chris Rainey (3) gains yardage as he is chased by Arkansas defensive end Tenarius Wright during the first half of a 2009 game in Gainesville, Fla.
By Ed Bouchette Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Steelers drafted a running back in the fifth round, but Florida's Chris Rainey is not your typical running back.
He stands only 5-8, weighs 180 pounds and is as fast as they come at that position, running a 4.37 in the 40.
And he's not bashful.
"I can play running back, I can play slot, I can do special teams,'' Rainey boasted. "I'm a playmaker all around. I'm perfect for this offense."
He's used to running behind one of the Steelers linemen too because Rainey was a teammate of Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey at both Lakeland High School and at Florida, and is fast friends with him and his twin, Mike, who plays for the Miami Dolphins.
He also was arrested in 2010 for allegedly sending a threatening text message to a girlfriend. He accepted a plea by pledging to avoid legal trouble for six months, perform 10 hours of communit services and undergo anger management classes.
He said while he believes it hurt him in this draft, it taught him a lesson.
"I became a man, matured, learned a lesson not to do that ever again,'' Rainey said. "Stuff happens for a reason."
Todd Haley, the Steelers new offensive coordinator, said they will try Rainey everywhere, including on punt returns where they might try to cut back the duties of Antonio Brown, now that he's become a starting wide receiver.
"He's a very versatile player who is fast, explosive, he can catch the ball, run with it and return it. That's a commodity."
Starting running back Rashard Mendenhall had ACL knee surgery in January and Haley said he's working toward getting ready to play.
Rainey was first-team All-SEC last year. He rushed for 861 yards and he also caught 31 passes for 381 yards.
He's the younger brother of running back Rod Smart of "He Hate Me" fame in the old XFL.
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